Playing by the Books
By Laura Shaver
By: Laura Shaver Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Nestled behind CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline Hospital on Ayers Street is a cozy indie bookstore that offers a broad selection of books for children and adults, as well as hallmark gifts and knick-knacks, including some for those in the medical profession, and medical supplies. Owner Dr. Jimie Owsley, trauma-critical care surgeon for CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, opened the store in 2016 to boost reading levels for all ages and to serve the community in which she is privileged to live.
By the Book isn’t only a little spot to browse through titles and find a comfy spot to read to yourself or to little ones: it also hosts numerous community activities, including readings by local authors and book signings, board game tournaments, and CPR and First Aid classes. The bookstore also accepts reservations for school field trips and children’s birthday parties that can include sing-alongs, board games, live music, puppet shows, and face paintings.
By the Book is proud to continue to remain accessible to the public for all ages and all reading levels, offering hundreds of books in genres such as fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, medical, world history, math, English, finance, legal, children’s literature, and much more.
Dr. Owsley, who also owns a private practice clinic for surgical consultants, is a highly esteemed medical professional. She has received numerous military awards for her service abroad as a medical specialist and general surgeon, including the Army Service Ribbon, Unit National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary, Global War on Terrorism Service, and the Bronze Star. After completing her medical doctorate degree and earning a master’s degree in pathology from Chicago Medical School, Dr. Owsley served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Fort Benning, Georgia, before deployment to Iraq.
Back home in Texas after her son was born, she was advised by a speech pathologist to read, read, and read some more to her young son who showed hearing loss at birth. By reading ten books to him each day, she was able to assist him in overcoming speech delays. Throughout this time, the family collected hundreds of books, and Dr. Owsley found a passion to help others improve their reading skills.
In January of this year, By the Book began a new initiative to boost children’s literacy levels in the Coastal Bend area by giving away one free book every day to a child, as well as a parent or teacher, so they can freely access a book of interest. One book is given away every day through the bookstore’s Facebook page. Supporters are shown a picture of the book of the day and encouraged to come by to pick up the copy – first to come is the only to receive!
Recently, several local artists came together and painted a Harry Potter mural along an exterior wall of the bookstore, bringing the vibrant colors found inside to the exterior of the store, as well. The inspiration came, in part, from Dr. Owsley’s daughter’s love for the series of fantasy books, and from the newly opened Coffee Muggle, a Harry Potter-themed coffee shop located just around the corner from By the Book.
The bright colors outside help to beckon Harry Potter fans and other avid readers into the store, where any curious customer will find a local beacon run by both passionate readers and passionate leaders.
702 Ayers St, Corpus Christi, TX 78404